Simple. Elegant. Beautiful. Functional. Efficient.
The list of adjectives to describe this window style seems endless. Replicating the traditional design with energy-efficient glass types and modern framing material, sash replacement windows are still the most popular choice for many Long Island homeowners. After all, what other window style looks beautiful in so many architectural designs — from Georgian to Victorian, Ranch to Colonial – and everything in between?
Going Up and Down
Only the lower sash moved in the first sash window designs. Today, double-hung replacement windows have dual movement features – the upper sash lowers and the lower sash rises to allow for maximum ventilation options.
In the early designs of operable hung windows, the sash was propped up with wooden dowels to allow fresh air into homes. From the mid 1800s until just after WWII, sash window styles featured a weight and pulley system for opening and closing. The simple design used two cast iron weights that equaled the total weight of the window sash – allowing the sash to “hang weightlessly”. After the war ended, spring suspension systems replaced the traditional draw works. You’ll still find counterbalanced windows in many historic homes and row houses in our area, although many others have been replaced and the weight pockets filled with insulation to improve energy efficiency.
Early sash windows had several drawbacks. First, the weights were hidden in wall channels. This disrupted the thermal envelope, which is why, combined with inefficient glass, the air around windows was always colder than any place in the room. Secondly, when ropes broke – and they did – the sash fell. This was dangerous if you happened to be leaning out the window when the rope failed. If the glass broke when the sash dropped, that posed another risk for people nearby (especially those beneath a second story window.
You can still order custom crafted counterbalance systems if you are restoring a historic home and want to replicate the original architectural details of your home (and don’t care about the energy inefficiency). However, Renewal by Andersen replacement windows, built with efficient glazing and superior air infiltration control, allow you to enjoy the stunningly authentic style without the air leaks and high utility bills.
Clear as Glass
Glass was a pricey commodity in the early days of sash window design. Over the centuries, making glass has gotten considerably cheaper and more efficient. Original sash windows were built with small glass lites (panes) divided by sash bars – small strips that held the glazing edges within the sash. During the Georgian Period, late 1600s to early 1700s, typical window sash had six small panes on both upper and lower sash.
Dutch-influenced window designs had nine, 12, or 16 lights in each sash. Early glazing was manufactured so thin to save money that many early window panes needed metal inserted to add strength and structural integrity. For many years, window design was an indicator of wealth. The more window lights, the tighter the budget. Only “well-to-do” homeowners could afford a single-pane-per-sash design. By the way, those large sheets of glass were suspended by chains – not rope – to support the massive weight of large window lights without grilles to provide support.
Historical Significance and Design
Row houses with white painted window sash and multiple small panes sprung up as more immigrants arrived in America. In the 1800s, with glass prices more affordable, many homeowners opted to keep the many-paned style to add character and artistic appeal to the otherwise “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. There are many row houses with angled bay windows in Long Island that still proudly display these historical elements – a testament to our rich cultural influences and traditions imported by early settlers.
Renewal by Andersen of Long Island Double Hung Replacement Windows Demonstrate Window Manufacturing Progress Made Over Past 4 Centuries
- Lightweight, energy-efficient glass is stronger – no chains necessary to support the weight of single panel designs.
- Today, it is easy to replicate the simple elegance of traditional sash windows with between-the-glass grilles for decorative appeal rather than structural integrity.
- New manufacturing techniques and innovative materials make it possible to enjoy an unobstructed view of the world with larger panes and fewer glazing bars.
Over the past four hundred years technology and manufacturing techniques have transformed home windows dramatically. Our replacement windows are functional, beautiful and energy-efficient. You can choose to replicate one of the many architectural styles influenced by early settlers with grilles and colors reminiscent of days gone by or opt for a larger viewing area with a single pane window design.
If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of installing high-performance sash replacement windows in your Long Island home, just fill in the form on this page or call 1-877-313-9052 to arrange a no-cost consultation at your convenience.